Using story starters is a great way of giving yourself a quick shot of creativity when you are stuck for ideas, or even when you need a break from a long project like a novel or a full-length screenplay.
Taking a break from working on an all-consuming project can unleash new ideas and refresh your tired mind and of course it is always fun just to try something new!
When you use story starters or other forms of prompts you are effectively asking yourself questions. These are the same questions a reader would be asking themselves while reading a compelling story – questions like – what happened next? Who did it? How did they get there? What caused them to do this? etc.
By answering the question posed by a starter or prompt you are building the foundations of story.
For example, look at the following sentence:
The note simply said ‘goodbye.’
Despite it being brief a sentence like this triggers so many questions:
Who is saying ‘goodbye?’
Who are they saying ‘goodbye to?’
Why are they saying ‘goodbye’ in such a brief note?
Try answering the questions suggested in the following sentences. Do the answers trigger a story idea you want to write? If not, why not try asking different questions, or providing different answers before you move on to another starter.
You will know when you have found the right one for you because you will feel compelled to know more and write more. This ‘compulsion’ will help give you the impetus you need to write regularly. Writing regularly is the best thing you can do for your work.
For a change, why not try thinking of these sentences as events that occurred in the middle of your story.
Sometimes starting from a centre point helps you focus by reducing the ‘gap’ between the beginning and end of a story.
Several streets were torn from the map.
She ran faster than anyone I knew but would it be fast enough?
He tried to escape but the room was sealed.
The tide was rising quickly.
A tree had fallen, blocking his path.
The rusting window lock was jammed.
Silence – apart from the faint trickle from a leaking pipe.
He covered his ears as it came closer.
Controlling the large group was going to be a problem. They all knew it.
The horse peered out from the horse box as the car got closer.
Everything looked the same but still something had changed.
The smell stung her nostrils.
He watched the seal swim in towards the bay.
She wasn’t sure she would survive a climb like this but she had to do it.
The child sat quietly by the window.
Unlike his colleagues the man didn’t wear his height with pride.
A small office with three locked filing cabinets.
She packed as much into the boot as she could.
The grey chimney was a recent addition.
She didn’t like being asked questions.
He followed the wire around the edges of the carpet.
They walked as quietly as they could.
The old dog raised its paw when he saw her.
He felt something bite.
A sharp look.
I hope one of these helped trigger a story for you and if so – the very best of luck with it!